DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Mayor Michael Hancock says police officers on Thursday night were prepared to support planned demonstrations over the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota. He says they were ready to let Coloradans “express their collective outrage peacefully so that it would be heard.”

But he says when the events turned from peaceful protests to groups of people becoming violent, he became dismayed that police had to don their riot gear. He said those who chose to cause damage to cars and buildings and clash with Denver police officers are making it harder to spread the message that what happened in Minneapolis was an injustice.

“We lose the initiative to create the change,” Hancock said in a news conference on Friday morning.

“Let not the story be about the riots and protests. Let’s keep the focus on the life that was lost.”

Police Protest In Downtown Denver

(credit: Evan Semón )

The city is now preparing for more protests on Friday and Saturday. Hancock says there will be added security measures taken by the police in preparation.

“We will hold people accountable if they look to hijack people’s pain for their own violent purposes,” Hancock said.

Hancock urged everyone who plans to attend the future demonstrations in Denver over the Floyd death to exercise social distancing and wear face masks due to the threat posed by coronavirus.

For complete coverage of the protests in Minneapolis over the police killing of George Floyd visit CBSMinnesota.com and stream CBSN Minnesota.

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